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The Vietnamese Sources of Materials Related to North and South Korea, focusing on the Vietnam War period (1954-1975)

Do ;Thanh Thao Mien 1

1

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ABSTRACT

This paper introduces the research materials related to North and South Korea during the Vietnam War period from the side of Vietnam, in order to tackle the limitations resulted from the current shortage of primary sources. In the other words, it investigates and introduces the sources of materials that exist in Vietnam on the issues of 1) diplomatic relations between South Korea and South Vietnam and the participation of South Korea in the Vietnam War; and 2) diplomatic relations between North Korea and North Vietnam and North Korean assistance for the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War in the history of Vietnam was defined as a history that lasted for 30 years from 1954 to the 30 of April of 1975. Geographically speaking, Vietnam is a long country which experienced division, war and reunion. Thus, the process of investigating and introducing the sources of materials from within Vietnam, with the focus on the Vietnam War period, was synonymous with digging and collecting the materials of a long historical period of 30 years. It is also about investigating and introducing the material sources that North Vietnam (a socialist regime) and South Vietnam (a capitalist state) as well as the current united Vietnam have published. The paper starts from the most important materials of Vietnam during the Vietnam War related to North and South Korea which are archived at the National Archive II and III. National Archive II and III reserve materials published by Vietnamese governmental offices and ministries. These precious materials show the very details of the relationships between North Korea and North Vietnam, South Korea and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, as well as the participation of South Korean troops in the war and North Korean assistance for North Vietnam. Interestingly, among official correspondences, exchanged letters between the governments, there even exist documents that were written in Korean language. These documents, as a result, are of great value for the Korean academia and research community. The paper continues by investigating and introducing a various types of materials such as newspapers, memoirs, books, et cetera, published by the Governments of North and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. On the side of North Vietnam, the most popular newspapers published were Nhan dan, Quan Doi Nhan dan. Newspapers published by South Vietnam includes Duoc nha Nam, Tin sang, Tim hieu, Chan hung Kinh te. These newspapers had mentioned issues such as the division of Korean Peninsula; socio-economic situation of both North and South Korea; the relationships between North Korea and North Vietnam, South Korea and South Vietnam; the participation of South Korean troops in Vietnam and the fact that these South Korean troops were transferred to the North Korean government. Apart from newspapers, materials related to North and South Korea published by North Vietnam during the Vietnam War include a large number of books and memoirs. These materials mentioned issues such as the “solidarity community spirit” between North Korea and North Vietnam, the Korean War, the politics, education, culture, art and economy of North Korea. Nevertheless, memoirs or books related to North and South Korea in Southern Vietnam during the Vietnam War period were barely found. As a result, the proportion of these materials is relatively small. Although books and memoirs which had contents related to North Korea were published widely in North Vietnam, academic research or dissertation related to Korean peninsula in North Vietnam is unfound even until lately. Meanwhile, according to this research results, research achievements related to North and South Korea published by South Vietnam includes two undergraduate dissertations, which were written in the 1970s. Last but not least, research achievements related to North and South Korea by Vietnam in the current period are mainly Master’s and Ph.D. dissertations and books which cover the relationship between South Korea and South Vietnam, the participation of South Korean troops, the assistance of North Korea to North Vietnam and the North-South Korean relations. In the process of investigating these secondary sources, the characteristics of the Vietnam War presented through researches among Vietnamese academia are clearly shown. Equally perceived is the standpoint of Vietnamese government regarding issues related to North and South Korea.

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